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Question Do I have to buy a USB external enclosure to format M.2 SSD?

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
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I have a new laptop, a Lenovo P1 Gen 3. It's bare bones, came with 256GB M.2 SSD and 8GB RAM. I bought two 16GB RAM sticks for it and a 1TB M.2 SSD, to expand its powers/storage. It has two M.2 slots. I can and will install the 1TB SSD in the empty slot and run Samsung's Migration Tool (both SSDs are Samsung), to copy everything on the smaller M.2 drive to the larger one. But I'm told that I can't boot the machine with two bootable drives in it. Is there a way I can format the smaller M.2 SSD without buying an external enclosure for it? Maybe by attaching an external optical drive with a Windows install disk? Some other trick? I have Win10 bootable USB flash drives. I intend to leave the smaller SSD drive in the machine for extra storage instead of removing it permanently, is the reason I'm asking.
 

Jimminy

Member
May 19, 2020
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61
Maybe you could use a program like macrium reflect to clone or image the smaller drive to the large drive (and adjust partition sizes too). Then delete all the partitions on the small drive. Finally, shut down and physically swap the two drives in the computer.
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
592
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Install the blank SSD. Boot up like normal. Run cloning software to clone the current booting disk to the new disc. Shut down. Take out the smaller disc and change places with the newer larger disc with cloned data on it. Boot like normal with it until it's happy. Put your other SSD back in. Use a USB Windows Installer Tool and set boot priority to be the USB stick and not the drives. When it boots, delete the partitions on the smaller old SSD drive. Then just exit the installer. Reboot.

Very best,
 
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Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
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You can format the old SSD in windows. Unless you already have files and programs on the old SSD, you may want to do a fresh install, especially if your Lenovo came with bloatware. If you want to clone, you should able to clone, select boot priority, and then format the old SSD once you are booted from the new one.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
126
Install the blank SSD. Boot up like normal. Run cloning software to clone the current booting disk to the new disc. Shut down. Take out the smaller disc and change places with the newer larger disc with cloned data on it. Boot like normal with it until it's happy. Put your other SSD back in. Use a USB Windows Installer Tool and set boot priority to be the USB stick and not the drives. When it boots, delete the partitions on the smaller old SSD drive. Then just exit the installer. Reboot.

Very best,
You know (and this won't surprise you, having read my OP), I had a feeling this was the answer, but I needed a confirmation that this was the process. Exactly that! Thank you!!!! :D
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
126
You can format the old SSD in windows. Unless you already have files and programs on the old SSD, you may want to do a fresh install, especially if your Lenovo came with bloatware. If you want to clone, you should able to clone, select boot priority, and then format the old SSD once you are booted from the new one.
Uh, I think the problem here is that I can't have both SSDs in the machine and expect to boot to Windows if they are both bootable, so I'm told, I haven't tried it. But MalVeauX's method works around this.
 

damian101

Senior member
Aug 11, 2020
265
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61
But I'm told that I can't boot the machine with two bootable drives in it.
That's not true. Not with Legacy BIOS and especially not with UEFI.
The issue with leaving the old drive and the cloned one in the same system is that now two partitions have the same UUID, which is something that isn't supposed to happen.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
126
That's not true. Not with Legacy BIOS and especially not with UEFI.
The issue with leaving the old drive and the cloned one in the same system is that now two partitions have the same UUID, which is something that isn't supposed to happen.
So, what happens if I try to boot the machine with two M.2 SSDs in it with the same UUID?
 

damian101

Senior member
Aug 11, 2020
265
98
61
So, what happens if I try to boot the machine with two M.2 SSDs in it with the same UUID?
I don't know. Windows might not boot. Modern UEFI bootloaders normally recognize the system partition by UUID.
The boot process might fail earlier though if the motherboard can't handle two EFI System Partitions with the same UUID (it's not actually a UUID, the identifier of FAT partitions is called differently, but it works the same).
Shouldn't cause any damage or data loss.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
126
I think I'll just follow Malveaux's procedure above. It's what I would have done, but wasn't sure. Only failure I can see if not being able to delete the partitions on the smaller SSD, but no damage done. In that event, plan B, but I'll be booting from the 1TB SSD, with the smaller one removed for the time being.

I'm getting this machine setup gradually, using it at this moment. I have another Lenovo P1 Thinkpad, a Gen 1 I bought open box. It's gotta be RMA'd, the keyboard is wonky. 3 keys aren't dependable. Sometimes I have to hit 5 or 6 key several times to get a response! The warranty's good to April 2022. This will tide me over, and I can use a second for sure. I love Thinkpad's. These are by far the best I've used, 15.6" screens and weigh 3.7lb.

I figure I got a good deal on the Gen 1 because the original owner spotted the wonky keys and returned it. At least it had a 3 year warranty. This Gen 3 only has 1 year warranty, but so far so good, I briefly tested all the keys for response. So far everything seems AOK.
 

crashtech

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2013
9,721
1,566
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One potential problem is that on the last step, with both drives inserted, the machine might boot to the wrong one because they're still both bootable. It could get confusing. If this seems to be the case, you could, as your final step, pull the larger one back out and use a bootable USB stick (like the kind you can create with purchase of software like Macruim or Acronis) to re-format the small one to play nice as a secondary data drive.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
126
I'm having a problem. FIXED, SEE NEXT POST..

I just inserted a newly unboxed, unaltered Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 1TB SSD into my new Lenovo P1 Gen 3 machine, alongside the boot drive, the original 256GB Toshiba M.2.

I did the very same thing with my Lenovo P1 Gen 1 machine a couple months ago or so and ran the Samsung Migration Tool which very easily did the migration and I put the 1TB Samsung SSD in the boot slot and the machine worked fine. I then put my Adata 500GB M.2 SSD in that machine's other M.2 slot, for a total of 1.5GB.

However, running the Samsung Data Migration tool on this new Lenovo P1 Gen 3 machine with the same Samsung 1TB replacement drive (not the self same SSD, but the same make/model, and similarly unaltered, unused), the Data Migration tool starts the process (at 0%) and either stops or the tool outright closes. I go to Disk Management and the drive is seen, is Properly Working, "Unallocated."

What might be going wrong here?
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
29,850
3,436
126
Fixed...

Did a search on the issue and came upon a discussion pinpointing Windows' Bitlocker being the issue. Turning it off allowed the migration. So, why didn't I have this problem with the other machine? Well, evidently it came with Bitlocker turned Off. :confused:

Uh, not sure why I'd want it turned on, frankly. Who'd want my data? It's not exactly a gold mine. I compute as though someone can see my data. I have password hints, have my own personally designed encryption function protecting the little data I figure is a security risk.
 
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